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July 22 1812: Great Anxiety in Russia


On July 22 1812, John Quincy Adams in St Petersburg, Russia writes:
22nd Morning visit from Mr. Montreal. A new ordinance of  the Emperor concerning foreigners, and particularly Frenchmen, has spread a general alarm, and in its terms is so extremely rigorous that it has been thought necessary to send to the Emperor for an explanation of its extent. Mr. Raimbert went yesterday to the military Governor, Wiasmitinof, to ascertain what was intended. The Governor received him politely, and told him he was waiting for orders, but at all events that he should make himself easy; there could be no danger for him. There is a new levy of five men to every five hundred in the four bordering governments, and a call for money and supplies of grain from others. My coachman was this morning-taken for a soldier, but in the evening was released again upon payment of twenty-five roubles by his master. The official news from the armies is all favorable, and according to the hand-bills they have had nothing but a series of successes from the first day of the campaign. But the Emperor with one army has been retreating from the Niemen River to the Dwina, and is completely separated from the second army under Prince Bagration. He has burnt and destroyed all the towns on his retreat, as well as all the grass and grain standing on the fields. And he must now be compelled to retreat still farther, or to give battle with only a part of his forces, contrary to what has been officially declared to be his plan. There is great anxiety here, but as yet no symptom of discouragement Rumors of disasters both to Prince Bagration's army and to that of the Emperor himself are circulating in whispers, but without any mention of particulars. 

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